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Show Season: Upper Lakes Showcases New Goods, Hot Topics

Bix Produce sales rep Jeanne Gfrerer serves jackfruit samples and other fruits and veggies at the ULF show.


Jennifer Sauter Sargent describes them as “friendly lactobacilli.” They’re the bacteria that aid in the fermentation of cabbage and other vegetables to create sauerkraut, kimchi and various live culture products Sauter Sargent makes with her husband, Andrew, at their Spirit Creek Farm in Cornucopia, Wisconsin. 

Passing out samples of purple sauerkraut and ginger carrots, Spirit Creek’s was a popular booth May 1 at Upper Lakes Foods’ spring food show in Duluth, where hundreds of suppliers, consultants and culinary experts gathered to highlight new products and share operations insight.

Clean label foods are what customers continue to want, said Dan Lipke, senior VP of retail for Klement’s, and suppliers are responding to meet the demand. Lipke, who was handing out samples of Klement’s all-natural bratwursts and sausages, has been with the company for 36 years and said consumers’ desire for recognizable, natural ingredients is a trend that’s not going away.

In addition to vendor booths, Upper Lakes held seminars on topics ranging from ways to incorporate healthy options on restaurant menus to advice on hosting a beer dinner, all aimed at positioning the company as a resource for its customers beyond food distribution. 

Upper Lakes also recently cut the ribbon on its new, 100,000-square-foot distribution center in Janesville, Wisconsin. 


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